- viewing for different mobile platforms (iPhone, Android and Blackberry Torch) and PC. This included the use of specialized authentication to integrate with different vendor services with IP based restrictions.
Narrative: In spite of the challenges, the team was able to go from concept to launch in less than 10 weeks.
Jeff calmly provided much needed direction to the frenzied team which was worried about the deadlines and integration challenges. His enthusiasm fostered a distinctive, value-based approach to software product development resulting in a high-performing team deeply involved in developing a differentiating, high business value product for the start-up organization concerned. Jeff followed a product management style that was enabling, engaging, empowering and encouraging leading to early risk mitigation and constant collaboration with multiple business partners. His adoption of startup-culture, where everyone in the team is considered as the ldquo;Reasonable Personrdquo;[ii] generated a sense of co-ownership of the product in the team. Jeff constantly motivated the team to take ownership of the product. His rationale was that if you give ownership to one person then the chances are nobody else will contribute to pushing it to the next level so why not distribute responsibility?
Few of the activities that Jeff did on a regular basis are the following
- Constant prioritization of features to identify Minimum Viable Product (MVP) at launch
- Negotiating business drivers and the feature set at launch with different stakeholders involved from the consortium
- Facilitating contracts and discussions with different integration partners whenever the team faced bottlenecks
- Allowed the team to choose the best tools and practices that they wanted to adapt ndash; letting the team build something which will be scalable and maintainable (no arcane technologies!)
- Review of any and all business risks ndash; early and often ndash; to all the partners and stakeholders and the team. This kept the team aware of the product scope and got them more vested in the success of the product than they initially were.
Online education (e-Learning and Assessment)
Strategic goals with the product: The product owner, Ryan was responsible to develop and launch a key product for a new venture incubated by a very large news and media company.ÿ The goal was to tap into the buzz generated by federal grants to the higher education market and introduce a new global assessment system to rank undergraduate students interested in a career in finance. This product was intended to be a part of a bigger (future) platform for offering other e-learning related products and services.
Challenges: Ryan had to deal with the following challenges
- The deadline was tight. The product had to go for a global pilot launch within 10 weeks followed by a commercial release in the consecutive quarter
- Lack of enough in-house domain expertise in assessment creation and delivery
- A strong product culture influence from the parent stakeholders to live up to
- Constant intervention from the internal IT (of the largest business sponsor in the incubator) of what is the right way of doing the product
- Lack of direction and budgets post the pilot launch of the product
- No prioritization of key features that would help to make the pilot product commercially viable
Narrative: The team was able to finish an initial build of the platform within a span of 8 weeks using available Open Source Software and enabled the stakeholders to run a pilot with universities across the world. The mantra to deliver product early and often and gather feedback from the actual users resulted in a successful pilot release. During the pilot phase the team was able to do two production releases every